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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 22, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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thanks to you if you already ordered drift. even though you think i'm mostly a liberal nut job but you're interested in this idea any way. i'm really happy that it's happening. thanks to you if you already ordered drift. even though you think i'm mostly a liberal nut job but you're interested in this idea any way. thank you. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." we have breaking news tonight, during a rally of trayvon martin, former governor florida governor rick scott announced a new special prosecutor in the case and a formation of a task force to examine all of the elements of the killing of trayvon martin. dozens of church goers packed buses bound for sanford. >> we will not allow trayvon to be undervalued. >> reporter: unimaginable tragedy.
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>> it's been 25 days since the killing. >> the attorney general, the state of florida, and the governor of the state of florida need to step in. >> what is it that they are hiding? i don't know. >> we need to have an independent investigation. >> it seems as though the police department of sanford or the city of sanford is condoning what is taking place here. >> my role is as a leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation. >> he has become a lightning rod. >> i stand by the police department. >> he has some nerve. >> i have come to the decision that i must temporarily remove myself as police chief for the city of sanford. >> it's a temporary relief but we need a permanent relief. i still say we need our rest. >> george zimmerman took trayvon's life >> it's a very sad and daunt hour. >> this is not a right or wrong.
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>> it isn't a black thing, it isn't a white thing, it's a right and a wrong thing. >> we want an arrest, we want a conviction. >> i not stop justice for trayvon martin. >> governor rick scott has ordered a new prosecutor in the case of trayvon martin's killing after the state attorney for the 18th circuit norm wolfinger volunteered to recuse himself. angela corey is taking over. a new task force will be held to hold hearings about the shooting and make recommendations for changing any of the state laws that might have affected this
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shooting, including the stand your ground law. last night on this program in his first national television appearance, norm bonaparte, the city manager who has the power to fire sanford police chief bill lee was pressed repeatedly by al sharpton and me on firing the chief. >> can you see any reason that he should be continuing in this job satisfy there any reason you see tonight why you should not fire him tonight? >> i stated that i think it should be reviewed by law enforcement experts. that's the point that i think. i need to have facts. >> and today in sanford at 3:39 p.m., mr. bonaparte introduced the chief at a police conference where the chief made this announcement. >> as a former investigator and a father i am keenly aware of the emotions of this tragic death of a child.
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i'm aware that my role as a leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation. while i stand by the sanford police department, its personnel, and the investigation that was conducted in regards to the trayvon martin case, it is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process. therefore, i have come to the decision that i must temporarily remove myself from the position as police chief for the city of sanford. i do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to the city which has been in turmoil for several weeks. >> tonight, just before a rally in sanford. >> since the chief has stepped down. i still say we need our arrest.
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>> we want to know that we love you. we want you all to know that you are trayvon. we would like for you -- the temporary step down of bill lee is nothing. we want an arrest. we want a conviction. and we want him sentenced for the murder of our son. >> joining me now are sanford mayor jeff triplett and professor of police study's and law who is also a former new york city police officer and prosecutor. mayor triplett, you voted today to -- yesterday, i'm sorry. the vote of no confidence in the police chief. why did you cast that vote? >> well, like i said last night at the meeting, i don't know about the investigation. we have heard a lot of innuendoes and rumors out there
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and because of the way that it's been handled since that point in time that we got involved in. from a managerial position, when i look at my heart and think has he done a good job since then, i have to say that i don't think so. >> mayor triplett, who is in charge of the police department now? >> bonaparte has named the two captains as co-leaders until we can figure out what the next step is with bringing someone in for the interim. >> eugene, what would you recommend for a police department in this kind of troubled situation? >> to be honest with you, the
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city manager and i don't think the mayor is alluding to this, that you have to have a law enforcement expertise or skill set, the information is pretty straightforward. to be quite blunt, i think police supervisors, sergeants all over the country within 20 to 30 minutes of getting on the scene here, there would be an arrest. trying to create this -- i just don't understand why this whole process seems to be so stuck in place and needs so much analysis. this is not an issue of who killed this man. the issue is, is there any justification and there doesn't appear to be a scintilla of valid evidence the newest sergeants make these decisions in 20, 30 minutes. a justice system that works its way through. >> mayor triplett, what is the temporary aspect of the chief's status? do you ever expect him to resume his duties while he's not doing the job? >> i have not had the opportunity to talk to mr. bonaparte about this.
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i imagine we'll get together tomorrow to understand what the thought process is between him and chief lee. >> and eugene o'donnell, what we know about the investigation so far, i mean, it's fairly routine to come upon and fascinating you as a former police officer know these things as well and one of the elements in one of the police reports that suggests to the police they interpreted this as a possibility that there was some kind of altercation is the notion that zimmerman's shirt was wet in the back and had grass stains in the back and maybe a bloody nose but that was not in the first police report so it's starting to become a suspicious element in the case.
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why did this stuff that would be part of the self-defense come into it later? >> it's entirely possible that the responding officers for whatever reason didn't the confidence that the people have in the justice situation, if you add up some of these issues, both the affirmative issues of evidence and also the apparent misleading statements that it's a clear if it goes in that direction the tremendous amount of deliberations maybe in the defense that the law muddles things and they couldn't move
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and this is not and because of the phone calls and what is in the state of mind and the concept of people getting away and there's a large amount of evidence that was relatively available early in this case. >> mayor triplett, have you listened to the 911 tapes in the case? >> yes, i have. >> and when you listen to it, did you hear the racial slur that many of us have been hearing and listening to those tapes? >> no. i listened to the raw tapes. so i have not had the benefit of listening to a tape that has been enhanced as of late. >> any of the elements that the police have advanced in their statements, especially chief lee, especially if it turns on the condition of zimmerman's
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shirt which the police do not have possession of. they do not have a photograph of it. there is nothing, nothing at all in police possession to back up the assertion of the condition of that shirt or the bloody nose, which are absolutely now critical pieces of evidence that we need and do not have. >> and this is the exact reason, sir, why i've said that we're an open book. please, i went up in washington, d.c., and talked with several delegates from congress. you know, we've called and sat down to the department of justice to come in and tell us what we've -- if we've done something wrong. we're going to work as hard as we can to correct that. i was not at the scene. and find out exactly what happened. and how we correct it and get to what is right and coming back in
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scandal because in any way investigate a police lieutenant's son who beat a homeless man. i want to show the audience some video of that now. >> 21-year-old justin is a son of a sanford police officer and was never charged. the man who was homeless had to be hospitalized. >> there we see him beating the man and we hear him saying, i will kill that mother. we hear that on audiotape. and your police department was on the way to doing absolutely nothing about it. >> that is actually right after i was elected in november the
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year after that happened. i took office as that whole thing was going down. i understand the ramifications of that. we looked at that. we went to the state's prosecutor and it went down. i understand the trust level that right now is with our sanford police department. i'm going down every path, i've worked hand in hand with the president of the naacp for three days now. he's given me some ideas as to who we can bring in as a police chief. this is going to be a top-down investigation. this isn't just going to be another one where we take a look at trying to get a new chief. we are going to try to take a look from the top down. >> mayor, you've had a busy week, going to washington to meet with the justice department now back in florida. what were you doing for the couple weeks leading up to this? did you just start taking action on this this week? >> it's been about a week and a half. i learned about this when i was at tampa at my boy's football game, it was a couple weeks afterwards as to what was going
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on and ever since then i've stepped away from my daytime job in banking and i'm working on this full time to make sure that this is taken care of correctly. >> mayor jeff triplett, thank you for joining us. i hope you'll come back as this continues. >> former police officer and prosecutor, thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, we will go to the rally site tonight with sirius xm radio. later, the reverend al sharpton who joined that rally. and in the rewrite, a remarkable story. the remarkable end of a hate crimes investigation in mississippi. the sister of a black man who
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was viciously murdered by a white man asks the court to spare the life of her brother's murderer. you have to hear her and what she says to this court. ask yourself if you could do this yourself. that's coming up. this mio energy is completely crushing my game. i take the stuff everywhere. exactly. everyone's more energized, more alert. i've lost their respect. oh who's laughing now!? gazelle!! [ male announcer ] personal, portable mio energy. [ gazelle laughs ]
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with the police chief stepping aside, the case of trayvon martin is literally changing by the hour tonight. reverend al sharpton, all joining me later and in the rewrite, a remarkable woman pleads for the life of the man who murdered her brother in a racist hate crime in mississippi. you have to hear what she said in court to believe this. i have never heard anything like
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forever. i am. >> trayvon martin. >> i am -- >> trayvon martin. >> joining me now is the man you just heard speaking at the rally, the host of sirius radio. mark, tell us how the rally went tonight. >> it was breath taking and 30,000 and 30,000 and it was absolutely breathtaking and in the very end, we -- said, i am trayvon martin. this was truly a moving experience and it speaks to the sheer power of this movement. they had no idea what they were
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doing, the police i should say, by not responding and, you know, people here are saying that as much as bill lee has obviously messed up, this is still about arresting zimmerman. it's almost an insult to the intelligence for them to say he is temporarily stepping aside. nobody can figure out what that means. everybody knows you get fired, you quit, temporarily stepping aside is not a term we can figure out in hr slapping or hr-ese, whatever that means. so it's an insult to the intelligence and to me it's a thumb up the nose from him. that all that needs to happen is that there needs to be an arrest made. now, i interviewed -- i can report to you tonight, you might have breaking news earlier in the week. on my show tonight we broadcast from here. i interviewed the share of the florida congressional black caucus, and representative and
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one of the democratic leaders, the speaker of the house and likely that the legislative branch is going to announce their own investigations on the house and the senate side. so this is a gathering storm. >> let's listen to what some of -- what the reverend al sharpton said tonight at the rally. he is, of course, the leader of the rally tonight. >> trayvon could have been any one of our sons. trayvon could have been any one of us. trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our lives that we've seen too long. and we come to tell you tonight, enough is enough. we are tired of going to jail for nothing and others going
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home for something. >> a week ago we could wonder how big this protest was going to get, even monday night of this week we could wonder how much was going to happen, when was this going to curve downward perhaps in media attention, when might it start to peter out. i think we know tonight, this thing is still getting bigger. >> yeah. i mean, i felt the energy that this was going to go on for a while from the beginning and people are angry. partly because we've seen this before and it happens again and again and, you know, eugene o'donnell said before me that there's a lot of evidence, is he racist, is though there's some racial resume we are supposed to be checking. does he have black friends?
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these are irrelevant questions. all we need to know is where he accesses multiple stereotypes, doing nothing but talking on a phone and decides he must be on drugs, he must be dangerous, all of these sorts of things. the bill lee change in the situation doesn't make me feel better because the pain that i feel from this taking so long with nothing happening is so deeply ingrained and opens up the wound of so many other things that happened before that i don't feel better. i don't feel mullified by bill lee -- as mark said, how is he temporarily removing himself? is there a date that he will return? i don't understand that part at all. >> well, you know, i think that's one of the indicators that throughout this process, what is happening in sanford, what the government is doing for the city manager or bill lee,
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are they doing a small step too late? every step being taken is taken too late. if they had a couple weeks ago taken some action of some kind on bill lee, it might have been more satisfactory this far into this. >> no, i think you're right. this is not doing anything to make anybody feel any better. the city manager is behind step. the chief of police is behind step and we don't know who it was. they don't get it at all. this is more of a momentum and as long as you're not talking last night and i was speaking with ron allen and several other reporters, we just gathered in circle and with all of the stories that come and go and we move on to other things, this story is getting so big and
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bigger every day, it's going to be with us for quite some time and it's important that that happens because trayvon's life and what he went through and his death and what his parents are going through is an example of what so many other people are going through. there are so many names that we don't know, so many children that have been through this, incidents and examples of police brutality and even civilian brutality but trayvon martin represents all of them. >> toure and mark thompson, thank you for joining me. we have to go on so we can go to reverend al sharpton. he's in florida in a studio waiting to get in here. >> thank you, lawrence, for what you're doing. >> coming up, the leader of tonight's rally, reverend al sharpton will join us. and later in rewrite, he was spared the death penalty because the sister of the black man that
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rick scott, attorney parks, attorney jackson, and trayvon's parents, miss sabrina fullton and tracy martin has voluntarily removed himself from the case. >> joining me now from sanford, florida. the reverend al sharpton host of "politics nation" and the head attorney for trayvon martin's family. reverend al, i want to start with something personal that you shared with everyone watching your show tonight and then everyone at the rally. let's listen to that. >> i got the news this morning leaving new york that my mother had passed. one side of me said and the other side my mother raised me
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to stand up for justice. my mother would have been ashamed of me if i wasn't here tonight. my mother raised me to stand with mothers and daddies like that and in her name i'm going to fight until zimmerman meets justice in the courtroom. >> reverend al, i heard about the passing of your mother this morning and i thought for sure you wouldn't be going to florida and when i heard that you were still going to florida, i was just amazed. speaking of someone who lost their mother recently, i couldn't have done anything on the day that she died and when i heard you explain it tonight on your show and then when i heard you say that at the rally, i completely understood why you were there and i'm so sorry for your loss and we all know that your mother would be very, very proud of you tonight. >> well, thank you for saying
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that, lawrence. it is very difficult. i don't want to act like it's not. my brother is with me also and we have a family that grew up in the movement and we just feel like this is what she would have wanted us to do. >> attorney crump, i want to get to the action that the governor took tonight. a lot of things happened during the rally, as far as we could tell. a new prosecutor has been appointed. the governor says he wants to have a task force look into this after the investigation has been complete. tell us about this new prosecutor angela corey? what's your reaction to that? >> well, we think it's a step in the right direction. we think it never would have happened with you or your viewers talking about it,
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especially with reverend al's devotion to this cause for justice. it's a step in the right direction but we still don't have an arrest yet. it's more investigating and, you know, you kind of ask, what do we have to investigate? it's a step in the right direction when a leader in the state says the whole world is looking at our state and we need to get this right. so we are cautiously optimistic tonight. we got to keep the pressure on until we get an arrest. >> reverend al, we both on this show last night talked to mr. bonaparte, the city manager. you did an amazing interview with him tonight. i want to play a little piece of that, beginning with where he explained why chief lee has stepped aside. >> you once said this was a complete and fair investigation, did you -- >> i said it. the chief said it. >> do you know believe this has been a fair investigation? >> i believe the sanford department has done what it could. >> i've phrased contradictions where you have blatant contradictions with what was said by a police officer and
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what is actually said on tape and what was actually put in police reports. how could that be fair? >> it's questionable. absolutely. it's questionable. >> reverend al, you asked him if it was fair. i felt like we were talking to a how bad this is and trying to work the city's way out of this. >> no, i think there's no question that your judgment there is correct, in my opinion. and i think that that is why i agree with attorney crump, that what the governor did is a step in the right direction and we must monitor and stay on it all the way. because if you have the people at the city level that cannot in a direct way say that this is contradictory, false statements, go ahead and make this arrest, this man should be charged, then
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you need to take a special because clearly the prosecutor here has lost the confidence of the people and should because they seem to be afraid of what is fair and just in the law. >> reverend al, they chiefly recognize for the well being of the interview. >> i think the chief recognizes for the well being, for the justice and murder of trayvon martin being he was becoming more of a distraction and that's why he step aside. >> what struck me in the middle of that answer was what he called the murder of trayvon martin. murder is a legal term. it means something very
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different from the death or the killing. it's interesting to me that mr. bonaparte would use that term. >> it certainly is, lawrence. and it's such a contradiction for what they put on the challenge police report. the initial police report had trayvon martin as the subject which would lead you to suggest that zimmerman was the victim and so i think it's because we keep calling them out, keep calling to the carpet, this kid, based on nothing more than his stereotype of him. and that's what is so hard to his parents. >> and attorney crump, are you worried about the ballistic tests and on that gun we don't have immediate access to the clothing because there is altercations in the police report that we do not have the reference to in the report? >> you know, lawrence, you're absolutely right. it is challenging because when
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>> you know, lawrence, you're absolutely right. it is challenging because when you look at what the police did, they came and they took zimmerman's word for the gospel of what happened and they didn't look at anything objectively to look at maybe, just maybe, trayvon martin might be innocent. just maybe his life might be worth taking a background check on the shooter, taking a drug and alcohol analysis, not letting him walk away with physical evidence on his body after talking to him for a couple of hours, even though he just shot this unarmed boy who had a bag of skittles.
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>> reverend, i want to play your interview with mr. bonaparte where he talks about his own experience of problems with the police, what he calls walking while black. >> i have been found guilty of walking while black. i have been stopped by the police officers. i believe simply because i am black. i realize that. i have sons and grandsons. we want to make sure the martin family gets justice. >> reverend, that's the sensibility that you want at the city but do you think mr. bonaparte has been moving too slowly? >> i think that the feeling is that he has been moving too slowly and too cautiously and when he says he's been found guilty, walking while black or being profiled as a black, the question i raise is what are you willing to do about it? because clearly you're not just talking about a culture. you're talking about a crime. people do have and ticketing and otherwise killing you in this
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case. they do not have that right and let's not act like people that profile and stereotype just have bad habits. some of them are criminal. >> benjamin crump, thank you for joining me. reverend al, thank you for joining me tonight. thank you for everything that you have done today. it's been a very, very long day for you and your family. again, thank you for being here. >> thank you. thank you, lawrence. coming up, next, in the rewrite, the plea to spare the life of an admitted killer. a white teenager who drove his car over a black man deliberately to kill him. his life was saved in a mississippi court yesterday by the sister of the black man who pled for the life of the killer of her brother. if you are one of the millions of men who have used androgel 1%,
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a hate crime murder case ends not with another death but with life as the family of the black murder victim rewrites our justice. to save the life of a murderer. shh, shh. did you hear that? it sounded like the chocobeast. the what? half man, half beast. he'll stop at nothing to sink his fangs into people who steal other people's chocolate temptations.
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today a case ended with guilty pleas of three young men who admitted to harassing and beating african-americans for months culminating in the murder of james craig anderson. when one of them darryl, ran over him with his ford f-250 truck. you're about to see a motel surveillance camera video of that incident. we have circled james craig anderson on the right side of your screen. the assistant attorney general for the simple rights division of the justice department said, this is really a case about a group of racist thugs who made a sport of targeting vulnerable african-americans in jackson and attacking them without provocation simply because of the color of their skin. darryl deadman and his friends,
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who were from a small town outside of jackson, actually referred to jackson as jaffrica. yesterday, deadman pleaded guilty to murder and the sentencing judge said this craven act isn't who we are. darryl addressed the court saying, i wish i could take it all back. i was young and dumb, ignorant, and full of hatred. i chose to go down the wrong path. deadman did not face the death penalty because the family of james craig anderson asked state and federal prosecutors to spare his life. in a letter to the prosecutors, they wrote, our opposition to the death penalty is deeply rooted in our religious faith, a faith that was central in james'
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life as well. but we also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in mississippi and the south primarily against people of color for killing whites. executing james' killers will not help to balance the scales. but sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment. as i've said here before, the only way to completely prevent the possibility of executing the innocent is to oppose the death penalty in all cases. if you oppose the death penalty just for the innocent, that means you're willing to leave the death penalty in place and if you leave it in place, mistakes will be made. the real test of your opposition to the death penalty is the hard case. the real test of your opposition to the death penalty is a case like this.
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the family of james craig anderson faced it most horrible test they could imagine in their opposition to the death penalty. this is how they met that test. >> these last nine months have been very difficult for my family. we've cried, we've laughed, we've reminisced about our beloved brother craig. it was a loss that i cannot even explain. craig was a big-hearted person. one who loved his fellow man. caring, family-oriented, and a big sense of humor. my brother craig would give you the shirt off his back.
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because of my brother, our lives are richer with love, respect, and the love of god. we, the anderson family, are praying for racial consolation, not only in mississippi but all over this land and country. we are praying for the defendant and his family that they find peace. >> that was barbara anderson, who is now praying for the man who murdered her brother. praying for the family of the man who murdered her brother. after she and her family intervened with the court to save the life of the man who murdered her brother, and, yes, she said that yesterday in america. ♪
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it's commonsense for people to defend themselves and when you're in a position where being threatened and there's a life-threatening situation to have to retreat and put yourself at a very precarious position, it defies commonsense. >> that was former governor jeb bush. joining me now contribute for the washington post, representative e. perry thurston. representative thurston, governor appointing a task force to look into what laws may be changed, what do you think needs
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to be changed? >> well, lawrence, i think the prospects are looking better but as your previous guests have indicated, we need to move with deliberate and without vague regard. the fact that law enforcement and my colleagues in 2005 predicted that these would be the problems that the state of florida would see and now they are coming to fruition leads me to believe that we need to move without delay. >> jonathan, tamron hall yesterday interviewed the sponsor of this bill, dennis baxley. she asked him, do you stand by the law? he said i do stand by it but i think there needs to be new legislation that addresses like how crime watches and how things like this are addressed. so there's the sponsor of the law saying, this was not at all -- the zimmerman defense is not what this was designed for.
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>> the legislator who drafted that bill and said that to tamron hall i think is showing a whole lot more leadership and forethought than the city manager that you guys interviewed last night and has been on television msnbc during the day, the legislator saw the bill, saw the holes in the bills, saw the problems with the bill and is moving as quickly as he can to come up with ways to fix it but still, as i've said before, it's an insane law and i'm not sure that sewing up some of the holes is going to do the trick. >> gentleman, marco rubio was a supporter. how does this affect him? can we tell how this is affecting him in national politics? >> no, i don't think we can tell at this point. things are moving so quickly in this story and with everything surrounding it that we'll have
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to wait down the road. i think it will only come up with marco rubio ends up on the ticket. >> who do you want to see, what kind of member do you want to see on that task force? >> lawrence, we want to see some of the law enforcement personnel who addressed these problems earlier. we want to see some of the people who opposed it, who indicated that we would have these types of problems. we want to see individuals who knew that this would come to fruition. it's one thing to say there are unintended consequences. but when you're told at the time of the passing of the law that these would be the problems, that's why we need your show. we need the aclu, we need the naacp and soccer moms, lawrence. we need the soccer moms in florida who felt the pain of this child's mother to stay with us and be vigilant for just cities for florida. >> representative perry thurston, again, thank you both
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